Megan Rapinoe has made waves for her continued kneeling protest during the national anthem, now she’s explained why.
In a piece written by Rapinoe on The Players’ Tribune, the U.S. Women’s National Team star details her ongoing protest and her desire to see equal treatment for all in the United States.
“I am kneeling because I have to do something. Anything. We all do.” Rapinoe begins her statement. “I haven’t experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member’s body lying dead in the street. But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache.”
Rapinoe, who is herself openly homosexual, explains that though she hasn’t herself experience racial profiling, police brutality, or many other issues affecting minorities in the U.S., she wants to use her unique position of influence to catalyze a change she sees as absolutely necessary.
Rapinoe explains that while she acknowledges that some may feel disrespected by her kneeling, she believes that she is utilizing her rights as guaranteed by that flag. She states that she makes a note to honor the freedoms granted to her by facing the flag directly and believes the protest is necessary as it is her responsibility “to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.””
In the powerful message, Rapinoe explains that, despite not being personally persecuted, she believes that the equality of each person is the responsibility of all others around them.
“I have chosen to kneel because in the time it has taken me to write this article, many more Americans have been lost to senseless violence. I have chosen to kneel because not two miles from my hotel in Columbus, Ohio, on the night before our USWNT match against Thailand, a 13-year-old boy named Tyre King was fatally shot by a police officer. I have chosen to kneel because I simply cannot stand for the kind of oppression this country is allowing against its own people. I have chosen to kneel because, in the words of Emma Lazarus, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.””
Rapinoe closes her statement by calling on her fellow Americans to take a similar stand for equality.
“Even more simply, you can ask yourself this question: “Do I truly care about equality for all people in this country?”
“I am choosing to do something. I am choosing to care.”